Denville mounts cameras on school buses to catch dangerous drivers

DENVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) -- One town in New Jersey is using new technology to crack down on dangerous drivers.

Denville Township is mounting cameras on the outside of school buses. The cameras will catch anyone who fails to stop for students or tries to zoom around a stopped bus.

A video showed a driver doing just that.

School bus coordinator Dan Cotreau showed Eyewitness News how the camera system captures and records the vital information to catch the driver later.

"You can freeze it, you can see the car go through, two snapshots and video," Cotreau said.

Police Chief Chris Wagner and Superintendent Steven Forte say distracted driving has made the cameras a vital tool for them.

"We have people who don't want to stop behind the bus. A child could be struck," Chief Wagner said.

"I don't think it's malicious, people not paying attention and that's bad because the child may not be paying attention thinking the car is going to stop," Forte said.

Denville Township buses every single one of its 1,700 hundred students, using its fleet of 30 school buses.

The cameras are on buses that pick up and drop off mostly on commuter roads where most infractions happen.

"We've written several tickets. I wrote one when I saw a driver pass a stopped bus," Wagner said.

But the cameras top the superintendent when it comes to irrefutable evidence. The cameras roll for the entire bus run, the driver hits the panic button when a car drives by. That marks the time on the tape.

"The mechanic, after the run takes the hard drive, I take it to police or email it to an officer who decides if it's a violation or not," Cotreau said.

The camera tells them the date, time, bus number, and car color, it's all they need, and they've ticketed lots of drivers.

No child has been hurt in Denville because of drivers who ignore stopped school buses. This they hope will raise awareness and keep it that way.

"We want to make people more aware while they are driving," Wagner said.
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